Sunday 6 April 2008

See no evil, Speak no evil, Blog no evil

I was thinking today how great it is to be part of the blogging world and what a powerful way it is for so many people in so many countries from so many different walks of life to be able to have their say and share their opinions. I guess where I come from freedom of speech is something we take for granted.

I was still surprised to learn on the Reporters without Frontiers website that in 2007, 37 bloggers (internationally) were arrested, 21 were physically attacked and 2,676 websites were shut down or suspended. I thought the most danger you could get into as a Blogger was for Google to ignore you. I assumed that these bloggers must have been affiliated to mainstream media but I thought I would do some digging to find out more.

It just so happens that the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007 was released last week (featuring 169 countries). It seems that bloggers are now just as threatened as journalists in traditional media. And not just bloggers in war torn countries either.

As far as freedom of the press and where various countries rated, I was shocked at the results. For instance, Iceland was rated No 1, United Kingdom 24, Australia 28, United States 48 and Philippines 128. More predictable were the 20 countries at the bottom of the index, seven are Asian, five are African, four are in the Middle East, three are former Soviet republics and one is in the Americas. Click here for the full list.

Are you surprised where the UK, Australia and the USA rated? Then again, given our involvement in the Iraq War, why should I be shocked that government administrations wanted to have greater control over the media.

For those of us blogging away on the Internet and expressing our opinions left, right and centre, the following excerpt from a press release from Reporters without Borders is of interest,

The Internet is occupying more and more space in the breakdown of press freedom violations. Several countries fell in the ranking this year because of serious, repeated violations of the free flow of online news and information.

In Malaysia (124th), Thailand (135th), Vietnam (162nd) and Egypt (146th), for example, bloggers were arrested and news websites were closed or made inaccessible. “We are concerned about the increase in cases of online censorship,” Reporters Without Borders said. “More and more governments have realised that the Internet can play a key role in the fight for democracy and they are establishing new methods of censoring it. The governments of repressive countries are now targeting bloggers and online journalists as forcefully as journalists in the traditional media.”

At least 64 persons are currently imprisoned worldwide because of what they posted on the Internet. China maintains its leadership in this form of repression, with a total of 50 cyber-dissidents in prison. Eight are being held in Vietnam. A young man known as Kareem Amer was sentenced to four years in prison in Egypt for blog posts criticising the president and Islamist control of the country’s universities.

I know that over 70% of blogs out there are personal online journals. The most that we concern ourselves with is whether we may insult family or friends. I guess we should be mindful that our blogs have the potential to be seen by people all over the world. Some bloggers who live in countries in the lower half of the list have added concerns. Blogging is serious business after all and not just in terms of dollars and cents.

Perhaps I better give a few world leaders a break for a while.....just in case they slip down the list even more. We live in interesting times.


  1. Wow ... that's disturbing.
    Interesting times indeed!

    Thank you for the comment :)

    Awesome blogging! I'll be visiting often.

  2. Lilly I had no idea this sort of thing was taking place (and I pride myself on staying up-to-date with current world news). What an eye-opener. It does make you consider what you are about to post on your blog, doesn't it? Luckily here in the U.S., with outrageous talk shows and even the far-left media abusing the 1st amendment at every turn with no consequences, it would take a pretty egrigious post to warrant sensorship or being arrested. Makes you wonder what some of those people posted on their blogs!?!?

  3. that is disturbing and scary.
    I know I am careful what say and I don't express strong views on anything ... spammers, trolls & stalkers are bad enough but being imprisoned.

  4. @ Victor - thanks for dropping by will visit you blog too!

    @ Matt - think they posted something true in a country where truth is not highly regarded if it reflects poorly on the government. Think we are safe for a while. BTW thanks for teaching me a new word -'egrigious' - I am so going to use that in a blog post - watch out!

    @ baby-amore - you're right, makes you wonder who the spammers and trolls are really working for...

  5. Sheesh! I have never thought about things like that. I only worry about crazies finding out where I'm located...
    Great post!

  6. Wow! I had NO idea!!!! That's kind of scary really.

  7. @ troublex2 - I think we have to assume now that anything we write on the web is seen by all. I will pay you a visit later.

    x lightning - yes, it was kind of interesting and thanks for stopping by.

  8. Great Point, I have been thinking about exacly those things, we should be carefull with what we post, but I am not worried about people like you and me that just want to sublime positive thinking and share some light, but still some things may be kind of dangerous to write in, I do not live a double life but maybe my in laws wont like everything what they see a the post, just because is my own ideas and I can hardly find friends that share with me those ideas, anyways I think we should know this is a big resposability and use this for the best purpuse for all. Your blog is really awesome, I like souls like you, :)

  9. Thanks Shine for visiting. Yes I don't think we have anything to worry about but it does make you feel bad about others in other parts of the world who have to consider this as a real issue.

  10. Check the 25 most censored stories in 2008


  11. You made some Good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with

  12. Great stuff from youR , man. Ive read your stuff before and youre just too awesome. I love what youve got here, love what youre saying and the way you say it. You make it entertaining and you still manage to keep it smart. I cant wait to read more from you. This is really a great blog.


Thanks for your comments.